by Conor Friedersdorf

A reader writes:

I've read a lot of entitled, self-righteous things in my time with the Dish, but that absolutely takes the...bottle.  So because this guy (or I'm assuming it's a guy) looks down on coke-heads and fame-seekers, you attack him for working where they might go?  In a time of 10% unemployment and economic hardship all around, I somehow doubt he had the luxury of choosing where he wanted to work.  And even if he did, he probably makes more working at someplace with "bottle service" than a soup kitchen or Applebee's. 

Seriously, you lost a LOT of credibility with that comment, and I think you owe an apology.

Another:

It's "douchy." Or "douche-y." Leave the Germans out of it.

And a third:

Really?  The people who are just making a living in the hospitality industry are bigger parts of the douche problem than the needy insecure people who feel the need to trumpet their own importance by bragging of tangential connections to the quasi-celebrities who own or run the venues? I bartended in hotels in NYC all through the 1980s.  The hotel I worked in--the Grand Hyatt--was owned by Donald Trump.  Do you have any idea how many people came to my bar and tried to get special service by saying they were friends of Trump?  Their friendship was even more irrelevant than they knew, seeing as the Hyatt wasn't managed by Trump's people, but by Hyatt's people.  I never even saw Trump more than three times in ten years.

But people wanted to claim that connection.  Maybe it made them feel as if they functioned in the same exalted financial circles as Trump.  Lots of people want to be able to say they "know someone."  People like to think they've got a line on special service--whether by being regulars, or by dropping a massive tip, or by claiming a connection to the owner. Of course, that's being generous.  Sometimes, people are just jerks.  They are desperate to seem more important than they are, and the only way to do that is to make the person serving them jump through hoops.  And that server has to just suck it up and smile.

The cocktail waitress who wrote that blog post is venting to the outside world the things she says to her co-workers all the time.  We never spit in people's food, like they claim in the movies, or did anything to take out our frustrations on all those people who only felt big by making us feel small, and by claiming their connection to someone important they stood on line with in an airport (or wherever. I suppose Donald Trump doesn't actually stand on lines himself.  I don't know--we're not friends).  We'd sit around the bar after last call and tell can-you-top-this stories about the people who made our nights so difficult.  Then we'd go home.

And you're saying that that makes us an even bigger part of the problem.  People who are trying to pay rent, or pay for school, or pay for their kids' school.  People who see some of the wort of human behavior--whether at a businesss hotel or at a hot club.  Something that restaurant and club workers love to say is that the world would be a much better place if everyone had to support themselves for one year in a tipped profession.  Clearly, you would have benefited from such a stint as well.

I really think that readers one and three are imagining a much different industry than am I. Here's the e-mail I sent to reader three: "I think you misunderstand my point – bar-tending at The Grand Hyatt and dealing with Donald Trump friend pretenders isn't anything like the world the blogger is writing about, or the world I am criticizing. The sort of establishment I am referring to is chronicled in this piece. It's a niche that, to me at least, doesn't bear much resemblance to the world where you worked. If you get around to reading what's linked I'd be curious to hear if you agree."

I'd also be curious to hear if these readers still disagree with me after reading that piece. W/r/t my spelling error, however, I am chagrined. Finally, one more:

Ah, Connor, you can come hang out at our table.  We'll teach you how to spell douchey. Fact is, bottle service is fun as hell.  When the club is crowded, it's completely worth it. And DFW wrote his cruise ship piece AFTER extensively experiencing the experience.

Okay, fair enough – I'll email next time I'm in New York City. But next time you're in LA, I'll buy you a better, cheaper drink at a much better bar.

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